Sneak Preview: The White Jacket

I am a slowwwww sewer. And I actually have time to sew, but I move at such a contemplative pace.

A friend of ours recently quoted something he read, “The first 40 years of your life you’re trying to beat death. The second 40 you’re embracing it.” It wasn’t a cynical observation at all, if you knew him–it sounded like a 90-year-old wise old oak rocking on his front porch.

I’ve been thinking about his little proverb nugget ever since, especially in regard to creativity and productivity. While finishing my jacket I kept hearing Feist in my head, crooning, “Take it slow, take it easy on me”.

I’m being a bit selfish here in showing some detail pics, because I want some advice before I sew the buttonholes, close up the sleeve lining and model it. And well, press it, because I haven’t really done much of that yet.

First the good:

I love how the sleeves came out. I was very nervous about this, despite the fact that I didn’t have to wrestle large amounts of sleeve ease. This fabric easily puckers. And I wanted a very strong shoulder, so I ended up hand-sewing in a a stiff and contoured shoulder pad, rather than machine sewing it to the allowance. I didn’t want in any way to crush the lift!

My pattern didn’t include vents on either the sleeves or back, but the original jacket I was knocking off did, so I drafted those. I used Sherry’s sleeve vent tutorial for the sleeves.

I searched high and low for true white buttons, but apparently button-sellers like calling ivory “white”. I ended up with a bunch of buttons I didn’t want and then decided on mother-of-pearl–if I’m going to go ivory, might as well go pearly.

Pockets turned out alright, the flaps a bit short for the welts, but I’m happy.

For the back vent, I followed Fashion Incubator’s tutorial on facing & lining junctions (here and here). Unlike my sleeves, the back vent also has a vented lining and needs to be drafted differently.

I drafted the vent a little too long in the end and had to hand-tack part of it down so it doesn’t start swinging open near my waistline.

I love how the lining came out. I sewed the entire thing in two passes, following the sew-along except at the facing hem, where I again used the tutorial at Fashion Incubator.

Now the bad:

The collar disappointed me a bit. It’s got a little bubble where the lapel meets the collar. Any advice on this?

You can see how this particular lapel also has a wavy doohickey going across the point. Don’t know what to do about that either.

The lapel itself looks wavy on the edges. I suspect this has to do with the seam allowances–the outer edge is actually longer than the seam and by squeezing itself in there might be causing the waviness?

Would a smaller (maybe 1/4″) seam allowance prevent this, or is this the nature of my fabric?

Ok, enough of lapel talk. The only other thing that is driving me mad is just occupational hazard. White really does dirty up quickly if you are working on it for long. I washed my hands quite frequently but that didn’t stop it from getting a little dulled. I may have to take it to the cleaners already–which might give me a great final press, too. What do you think?

I really dislike having silk dry-cleaned frequently. It starts to dull after awhile. But I do spill and am not especially neat. Hand-washing is out of the question for this jacket so it will have to be handled with kid gloves.

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Edit: I corrected this entry to give proper credit to the “Unnamed Tutorial” series at by Kathleen Fasanella. This series includes a technique of drafting a pattern so that a jacket’s lining and facing are entirely sewn by machine resulting in a very clean finish.

I had previously included links to a sewing blog demonstrating this technique–which I found from yet another sewing blog. I mention this only because I feel it is important bloggers track down their sources properly. Original tutorials with photos are proprietary information belonging to the author/publisher, whether from a blog or a book. I take these issues seriously, and apologize for not crediting properly the first time.

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